What a ride this Kickstarter mullarkey has been, I can't tell you how far this small success has gone towards rejuvenating our belief in The Stagg Do/ Pissheads story world - but actually it's restored my LOVE of filmmaking. When we shot this film in 2011, I never thought I'd still be dealing with its release in 2015. Every step of the way has been a battle: against circumstance, people who think they know best; but don't, lack of money and total indifference from the local press. I could go on - but I don't need to - it's all documented (not in the goriest of detail, but enough) in the pages of this blog. I'm a skeptic and an atheist but at times I've really felt this film is cursed - I hope I'm not tempting fate when I say that doing this Kickstarter has lifted the clouds of doom from my napper.
So thank you all, firstly for your support and your contributions - both financial and in terms of sharing, liking, commenting and of course just cheering us on from the sidelines - we appreciate it all. Secondly and probably more importantly for rekindling my love of filmmaking and AUTHENTIC GEORDIE CINEMA.
Hopefully we will see you soon at a screening in your neck of the woods or at the Official DVD Launch in November.
Zahra and James. x
This was great fun to film. Standing in the rain in Pottery Bank trying to have a BBQ. We even got approached by two community wardens to make sure we weren't hooligans!
Anyway heed their message and contribute if you can PLEASE! xxx
Well we're at the half way point in our campaign. We've entered the lull phase of our Kickstarer. Thing is we don't have time for no lulls. We NEED to hit our stretch, I've got screenings to plan in places like London, Northern Ireland and the North West - we'd LOVE to bring this to our fans there, but we can't do it without your help. So as Staggy says - "Hoy some lowey owa. NOOO!" #WhosDennis #TheStaggDo
It's exactly a week since our Kickstarter campaign went live and to say the success has left us reeling would be an understatement. In fact it would be no exaggeration to say it's taken us this long to get our heads around it. All of our planned updates and update videos have had to be sacked off and rewritten with a different emphasis. Today we officially launch of Stretch goal of £7000.
So if we need £7000, why didn't we ask for £7000? Well, we don't NEED £7000 for our original plan of paying for the BBFC certification and hosting a DVD Launch party and screening - that'll cost about £4000 - which was our original goal. The extra money will allow us to do extra things - eg hold a screening in London and hold additional screenings in other parts of the country. We can order BluRays to offer as perks or for sale AND for anything we raise above £7000 we can probably get a DCP organised which would mean we could screen in cinemas not just pubs/ clubs etc. So what say you? ARE YOU IN?
Not in a bad way of course, in an overwhelmingly good - but wholly unexpected - way. Having allowed self doubt to creep in at the back end of last year, when we came up with the idea to do this campaign, we set ourselves an incredibly modest goal of £4000. £5000 would allow us to do the bare minimum to get the film out on DVD comfortably (ie pay for the BBFC and printing DVDs and a DVD Launch), but before we launched, our bottle went again - and so we settled on £4000 - the absolute bare bones that we'd need... I mean the only thing that would be even more crushing than how we were feeling as recently as last month, would be to raise £3800 - ie close but no cigar - and end up with nothing because of Kickstarter's all-or-nothing approach.
We almost went for £5000 on Indiegogo because we felt it would give us that insurance of knowing we'd get to keep whatever we raise, but thanks to Lucas McNelly (and Richy) - we dodged that bullet. Although I've been fascinated by crowd-funding since 2009 (actually since 2004 if we include my idea to pre-sell the DVDs of some shorts we were making at the time); I hadn't realised how much more engaging and powerful a platform like Kickstarter is. I'm still not sure what makes it so much better than IGG - but the figures are stark - 40 odd percent of Kickstarter projects succeed where less than 10% of IGG projects succeed. Does the safety net breed complacency? Is it that they allow any project? Is it that the all or nothing approach creates the urgency needed? Or is it that many IGG project creators are less than half assed in their approach? Probably a bit of all - though I always suspected it was mainly the final one in this list... Anyway, that plus the magnificent Greek Bail Out IGG which kept causing Indiegogo to crash (on what was our launch day) is why I say we dodged a bullet.
But that's all ancient history now - thanks to YOU - we have SMASHED our target in under 48 hours and are wondering how much we could make if we put in a stretch goal. What do you think? How much should we go for? Obviously anything we raise would go on more screenings/ marketing/ DVDs etc - who knows maybe a swanky London press screening - wouldn't that be a humdinger?
Kickstarter Update #1
We've been live for less than 12 hours on Kickstarter and we're already nearly half funded. I can't begin to described how grateful we are for your support in this.
Your support is massively appreciated and even if you can't support financially, sharing the campaign really does help so much.
This is just a short update as I'm still reeling with how well this has gone. So far, so good.
Once again, I must apologise for the complete lack of updates to this page. I have no excuses, nada. Once again we ran out of money. And really we DO NEED some more money in order to properly distribute the film. You see the British Board of Film Classification has to grant us a Film Certificate in order for us to have any more screenings or to sell DVDs.
We blagged an exemption last year, because the cost was and is prohibitively expensive for a small self-financed film like The Stagg Do. I actually spoke to someone in the BBFC office last week and it appears we'll need around £2000 - yes - TWO THOUSAND POUNDS to pay for the certification. It breaks down something like this (rough figures as it's per minute):
Theatrical Certification -- £750
DVD Certification -- £450 (inc 25% discount)
DVD extras Certification -- ALLOW £700 - yes, every extra need a certificate - FFS!
So although LOADS of you have asked for DVDs and to host screenings our hands have been tied by this unavoidable cost of doing business! GRRRR. I thought the last three British governments were in the corner of small businesses, I suppose I thought wrong. Anyway as a result, once again our wheels ground to a shuddering halt.
Then a funny thing happened.
At the start of June, James was looking at The Stagg Do IMDb page when he discovered someone had posted a lovely review of the film in May 2015. Someone who was at the World Premiere almost 12 months earlier had actually gone out of their way to write a film review of The Stagg Do. That review, that single act of kindness or cheerleading or appreciation or whatever you want to call it actually caused us to shake off the self pity and to paraphrase Old Blue Eyes "pick ourselves up and get back in the race".
Here we are just 12 months out from our successful World Premiere - which would've been in the Top 10 for screen average that weekend - with a completed film and another barrier that stops us from releasing it properly and legally. But what we do have is a renewed passion, an additional fuck you chip on the shoulder and the same bloody mindedness that has got us this far.
So if you still believe in us and in The Stagg Do and like Jed on IMDB and Dave in Australia who sends me messages every now and then asking how he can get his hands on a DVD, I have an announcement to make... We will be launching a Kickstarter campaign on July 1. We aren't looking for earth-shattering amounts of cash, just enough to get us over the final hump. I think we've been pretty fair in our perk pricing structure and I sincerely hope you will join us in making this last stage possible.
Please keep a look out for our campaign and share it with your friends and family, also if you can afford to, please sling us a couple of quid. We have some great rewards waiting for you. PLUS of course you'll be helping us to get the DVD released. We have great plans for a kick-ass DVD launch this Autumn so keep yer peepers peeled and glued to this page. xxx
When we first started on this journey, in fact before we started on this journey - when we first started on The Pissheads journey (way back in 2009) it was always with the intention of making a film that we could self release. I've gone on about this since 2004/ 2005, if a filmmaker has to sell all of their rights to a distributor just to get their film made, how can they ever begin to sustain a career? A three year product cycle in which you own no rights in your product is not a viable business model.
So that was the plan with The Stagg Do: self finance it, self produce it, self release it. I always knew it would be tough, I'd read enough horror stories and met enough people to see that it wasn't going to be a piece of piss. We strategised to a point, decided that as we were broker than we wanted to be that we should just concentrate on spreading the word up here in the North East. It's a local film, about local people, by local people and though it's "Geordie as fuck" it's not provincial - it has a universal themes: as Pob says "It's not about who's your best man mate, it's about who's your best mate man".
What I didn't foresee though was that we'd have to educate the (local) media about self distribution. It seems to me that unless your film is coming from a distributor the perception is that the film must be shit. That's an absurd preconception, but it seems to be rife in the press. Why do I say it's absurd? Is it because I don't think my film is shit? I mean I'm bound to think that right? I am biased after all. But that's not why I think it's an absurd thought, look at it this way: park "quality" which in film is really a subjective concept and think of film as a product which it is.
Let's say James and I are dairy farmers and we usually sell our milk to Tesco. In this analogy Tesco is the distributor (they use their trucks to transport our milk) and the exhibitor (they sell the product through their stores to the end-user). Now let's say Tesco decides that it's going to have a price war and from now on it'll sell milk at £1 for 2 litres. Tesco won't take a hit on its bottom line - so it comes back to the producers - the farmers (James and me) and says they're going to pay us 20p less a litre than they were previously. We can either take it or leave it. In the milk example, we might say "no thank you, we've decided we don't want to deal with you anymore - we're going to set up a farm shop and sell our milk ourselves." The local papers would then carry a story about our little farm shop that is going head to head with the big boys and how we sell our bespoke boutique products (we make cheese from the milk now) ourselves. They wouldn't say "oh you're selling yourself therefore your milk and cheese must be shit".
The fact is, film is a product like anything else and we chose to sell ours direct. Not because it's shit, but because we can. But as I've said before, we can't do it ourselves - we need your help. If you like the film or like the idea of a ballsy wee company from Bensham selling their films direct to the public then share our social media stuff, tell your friends, tell your family and remember we haven't been rejected, we've chosen to do this.
Will try our best to keep this busy during the shoot and post-production.